Lead Exposure May Increase Risk fo Gout: Study

New research has identified yet another risk associated with lead exposure, finding that even lead blood levels in the range that are often considered acceptable may increase the risk of gout.  

In a study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine examined the link between gouty arthritis and lead exposure, finding that elevated lead blood levels were associated with increased prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia.

Researchers assessed patients 40 years of age and older, finding that the highest blood lead levels have an association with a 3.6-fold higher risk for gout and a 1.9-fold higher risk for hyperuricemia. However, even blood lead levels (BLL) of 1.21 micrograms per deciliter of blood, which are currently considered acceptable according to national standards in developed countries, also pose an increased risk of gout.

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Lead Poisoning Lawsuits

Children diagnosed with lead poisoning after exposure to peeling or chipping lead paint in a rental home may be entitled to financial compensation and benefits.


Gout, a type of painful arthritis, occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood causing joint inflammation.  It is caused by having higher than normal levels of uric acid in your body. People suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, sickle cell anemia and leukemia also have a higher risk of developing gout.

An increased rate of lead levels in the blood can occur with high levels of lead exposure. Such exposure is most often associated with older homes with lead-based paint that is pealing off the walls, but can come from other sources as well, including cigarette smoke, lead-contaminated dust and some drinking water contains lead due to lead lined pipes.

Although lead based paint was banned in the United States in 1978, it remains the most common cause of lead poisoning for children, who may ingest small paint chips or flakes that fall off of the walls or inhale dust from lead based paint. Federal law requires landlords to disclose information regarding the lease of a home containing lead based paint, prior to the rental.

Lead poisoning may result in seizures, mental retardation, brain damage and even death in young children. Lead exposure can also occur with no obvious symptoms.

Earlier this year, the blood lead level (BLL) for a child to be considered as suffering from lead poisoned was lowered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dropping the BLL for children from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter to five.

Despite efforts to reduce exposure to lead, especially among developing children, the CDC has estimated that nearly 4 million homes have children living in households with lead exposure with approximately half a million children with blood lead levels of 5 mg/dL. According to the CDC blood level thresholds will be reassessed every four years.


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